As a Senior Principal and New Zealand Environments Lead I have been privileged over the past two years to be working with the Myanmar Environment Conservation Department (ECD) to develop the skills and knowledge of staff who review environmental submissions for all new oil and gas activities in the country.
Environmental legislation, specifically for environmental impact assessment in Myanmar, only came in to force in 2015 so it is not surprising to learn that specific technical knowledge for assessing the impacts of these oil and gas activities is just not available locally.
Our aim is to build a skill set within the department which will ultimately lead to better decision making and outcomes for the environment, the community and the economy in Myanmar.
The work, which is funded by the Norwegian Environment Agency, in collaboration with Bridge Consulting, aims to build a skill set within the department which will ultimately lead to better decision making and outcomes for the environment, the community and the economy in Myanmar.
The training program has really focused on building the knowledge of the staff who review environmental impact assessments submitted by companies, for activities like exploration drilling and seismic surveys. Staff need to know what questions to ask, what to look for and how to identify the really key issues – it’s also about developing checklists, processes and examples to help with that upskilling.
Prior to COVID19, I had been regularly travelling to Myanmar’s capital city, Nay Pyi Taw, to facilitate face to face training and workshops. Now with international travel off the cards, the team and I have had to quickly adapt to an online solution which has been crucial to keep the project on track.
Over the last month, Coffey’s Marine Ecologist Ivan Steward and I have helped to plan and deliver a series of webinars to over 20 ECD staff members.
These highly interactive sessions provide an opportunity for staff to continue their learning and development, to ask questions about current issues they are facing and explore new areas of interest.
Online learning will continue through webinars and one on one sessions with myself and the staff in Myanmar until restrictions are lifted – who knows when that may be!
Working at Coffey and Tetra Tech, its opportunities like these that are adding rewarding challenges in my career, allowing me to ‘give back’ and share my knowledge with others.